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Another possible “vote-buying” episode?

Friday, Apr 6, 2007

* A story about an alleged “vote-buying” scheme in the 43rd Ward has been picking up steam

Beers for votes — that’s the charge Ald. Vi Daley is leveling against challenger Michele Smith in the race for the tony 43rd Ward.

A flier circulated by Smith’s campaign for a party last Saturday at a West Armitage tavern advertised a $5 drink special for attendees holding early voting receipts.

That constitutes vote-buying, a felony, said Daley, who has filed a complaint with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Not so fast, said Smith, a former federal prosecutor. While she admits it was a screw-up on the part of a well-intentioned young staffer, she insists she caught the mistake before anything illegal happened. The party went on, but no one was asked to show their voting stubs to buy drinks, she said.

Not exactly the worst dirty trick ever, but whatever floats your campaign’s boat, I suppose.

* But now, Chicagoist has found a similar scheme in the 21st Ward…

But the most important business leader to help Howard Brookins so far is Phil Douglas, franchisee of two McDonald’s locations in the 21st Ward (even though his business offices are located 1951 Bernice Rd, in Lansing).

He is generously offering free hotcakes to people that bring in early voting receipts (along with a flier making the rounds in the 21st Ward).

According to the person who spoke with us at the campaign headquarters (who refused to give a name) this is a “campaign contribution” from a business leader in the community who supports Brookins. Calls to the business office went unreturned.

That might be problemmatic. Here’s the flier [click to see a larger image]…


* Meanwhile, Alderman Brookins has a new mailer claiming that “union bosses” are “trying to buy the 21st Ward aldermanic election.”

The Brookins mailer includes photos of the homes of Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon, and SEIU honcho Tom Balanoff. Click the pics…

brookins_attack1.jpg brookins_attack2.jpg brookins_attack3.jpg brookins_attack4.jpg

* I’ll bet the house owned by Brookins’ megabucks contributor is much nicer than either of those guys’ abodes. [Thanks to a commenter for making the connection.]

* Switching now to the 32nd Ward, Fox Chicago had a piece this week about the ever-increasing nastiness in that race…

There’s a new campaign controversy in Chicago’s 32nd Ward which features a run-off election between Alderman Ted Matlak and newcomer Scott Waguespack. The challenger is crying foul after Matlak’s campaign website got linked to his official aldermanic page on the City of Chicago website.

* A follow-up story is here.

* Ald. Matlak sent out a recent mailer slamming Waguespack for making it appear as if he is a lawyer when, according to the mailer Waguespack “failed the Illinois Bar exam”…


* Waguespack responds…

waguespack_back1.jpg waguespack_back2.jpg

* More local stories…

* Meet the international investor behind council candidates [12th, 16th and 21st Wards]

* Schakowsky endorses Dolar over Stone [50th Ward]

* Bananas for Gordon [49th Ward]

* A true champion [49th Ward]

* Crosscurrents [49th Ward]

* And, finally, we have the Carbondale mayor’s race, where the Southern Illinoisan had a story today about Mayor Brad Cole complaining that Sheila Simon is being endorsed by major players like US Sen. Dick Durbin.

“When you’re a small-town mayor and you have the number two United States senator coming at you, it tells me there is either more at play here or some people are nervous,” Cole said. “And they are not talking about a record; they are talking about politics, partisan politics.”

Nowhere in the story, however, was any mention of Cole’s campaign contributions from major Illinois GOP players, including $6,000 from the Illinois Republican Party. Democratic blogger ArchPundit has that angle.

Simon is running a grassroots campaign against the leaders of the Illinois Republican Party–that Dick Durbin sent out a nice message for her for low dollar donations is hardly a big deal compared to what Cole is bringing in. That the Southern didn’t bother to point out this difference while giving Cole the time to make those charges is ludicrous.

Find Cole’s full financial disclosure reports here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OnTheNorthside - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 1:59 pm:

    How interesting that Brookins is sending out this kind of attack mail right after the Trib story on Herro…

  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 2:04 pm:

    Excellent point.

  3. - VanillaMan - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 2:06 pm:

    The Cole complaint is silly. So, Durbin shows up - this is Paul Simon’s daughter. If Durbin wouldn’t support Paul Simon’s daughter and do everything he could to help her win, he wouldn’t have been much of a friend to the family.

    Now, that said - who wants my vote?

  4. - leigh - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 2:23 pm:

    I may be wrong on this, but I thought Paul Simon did not support Durbin.

  5. - Squideshi - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 2:39 pm:

    “Not so fast, said Smith, a former federal prosecutor. While she admits it was a screw-up on the part of a well-intentioned young staffer, she insists she caught the mistake before anything illegal happened. The party went on, but no one was asked to show their voting stubs to buy drinks, she said.”

    Section 29-1 of the Illinois Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-1) provides:

    “Any person who knowingly gives, lends or PROMISES to give or lend any money or other valuable consideration to any other person to influence such other person to vote or to register to vote …shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.”

    Does the flier constitute a promise?

  6. - Cook Dem - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 2:45 pm:

    That will probably determine if Devine’s office brings charges or not. Anybody know of any case law?

  7. - NE - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 2:58 pm:

    Give me a break. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. Sounds like Vi Daley is desperate for an issue to use against Smith. Must be tough running against an ex-prosecutor.

  8. - Anon in 32 - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 3:00 pm:

    Aldertrack has a transcript of the Matlak/Waguespack appearance on Chicago Tonight. The lawyer mail piece was discussed, and Waguespack had this to say:

    “I took the bar exam. I was unsuccssesful, just like Mayor Daley.”

    I’m sure this will endear him to the Mayor.

    I know a lot of people who’ve been on the fence who are coming home to Matlak - and I’m heading in that direction myself after voting for Waguespack in February.

    The longer Waguespack is out there the more it becomes clear that he doesn’t have any specific ideas about what he’d do if elected, while Matlak is finally touting his specific accomplishments, which like the guy are not, are substantial, and he knows how to get things done.

    One of Waguespack’s stump lines is about the waste in the city budget due to corruption. I’ve now heard him in different forums state it as “millions of dollars”, “tens of millions of dollars”, and even “hundreds of millions of dollars”, yet he never cites a specific example. He’s starting to come across as a Joe McCarthy parody, and I think it’s turning people off.

  9. - babs - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 3:17 pm:

    I remember working a precinct in Uptown, YEARS ago, and as everyone left the polling place, there was someone handing out pints of liquor. Now I know how to make it more up-scale - just like everything else in Lincoln Park. It still smells bad - especially coming from a candidate who promises to clean up city hall.

  10. - Reddbyrd - Friday, Apr 6, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    Apparently Cole forgot that he is the pet rock of TomCross&theSockPuppets and a GRyan crony….but knowing Durbin is a sin
    Get a life Brad

  11. - Reddbyrd - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 8:24 am:

    With the comments off this little excerpt won’t show up until before election day….It is interesting how CandidCole responds to the SIU paper and how TomCross&TheGroomers handle it

    “Cole said he did not want to talk about the event, saying he follows Illinois law for campaign disclosure and any information could be found on that site. (A sure shot for open govt)…

    David Dring, spokesman for House Majority leader Tom Cross, said the Illinois Republican Party, like the Democrats have been doing for many years, is trying to do a better job of cultivating young GOP politicians. The Illinois Republican Party and U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood also donated $2,500 and $250, respectively, to Cole’s campaign.

    “We’ve been trying to do a better job of grooming young talent such as Mayor Cole,” Dring said. “If he chooses, we believe he has a bright future.”
    (Perhaps a bigger brush is needed for Brad)

  12. - Anonymous - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 9:43 am:

    I like Brookins mailer, it is time that union workers know what their dues are paying for, including the raise we know have to pay in dues because of their spending on these aldermanic races.

  13. - Stuck with Sen. CPA - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 10:51 am:

    According to the ISBE site, the IL GOP added $6k to Cole’s campaign on April 3, so it’s a total of $8,500 now.

  14. - Observer - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 10:58 am:

    Are comments on?

  15. - Observer - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 11:07 am:

    Waguespack has little room to speak when he and his supporters cry about “nasty” or “mudslinging” campaigns. I think the record shows that he started it.

    First, in January, he took a page from the Claypool-Lechowicz campaigny by sending out mailings trashing Matlak early, smearing him with accusations of “corruption”.

    Second, apparently not picked many places, Waguespack had an interview published in the gay press (Windy City Times) alleging that Matlak, in his first race, ran a “smear campaign” against Lorna Brett and “attacked the [gay] community”. That accusation is completely false, and was itself a smear.

    So Waguespack’s folks seem free to dish it out, but quite unable to take it.

  16. Pingback Turning Non-Partisan Partisan « Illinois Reason - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 1:39 pm:

    […] Saturday, April 7th, 2007 in Uncategorized by robnesvacil Capitol Fax blog writer and general state political journ Rich Miller has picked up on the tremendous amount of partisanship in the Carbondale mayoral race after fellow Illinois Reason blogger ArchPundit laid out the facts at his own blog. […]

  17. - Kevin - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 8:12 pm:

    Anonymous: “The Unions” aren’t backing Brookins, they are supporting Leroy Jones, an active member of SEIU Local 73. When I called the Brookins campaign for comment Thursday afternoon, they told me that it was a “campaign contribution” from Phil Douglas.

    As for “The Unions” raising their dues to pay for any of this election, that’s not only a ludicrous assertion, it’s also factually incorrect. Union dues don’t finance political action, per federal law. All of the labor money behind this election come from political action committees, formed, steered, and funded voluntarily by union members, who vote on where and how to spend that money.

    What many of these aldermen find scary isn’t the money, (since it is relatively minor compared to what is available out there), but the manpower: having thousands of committed union activists knocking on doors and talking to their friends and neighbors about why they should vote for someone is far more powerful than any plate of hotcakes a McDonald’s could serve up.

  18. - Rich Miller - Saturday, Apr 7, 07 @ 10:00 pm:

    Actually, Kevin, in Illinois they can use at least part of their dues for political activities.

  19. - OnTheNorthside - Sunday, Apr 8, 07 @ 2:58 pm:

    Ah, how I love the smell of hypocracy in the morning. Just was over at the Jones website, and they’ve responded with some bios of Brookins donors.

  20. - CasteelD - Sunday, Apr 8, 07 @ 3:07 pm:

    Is matlak crying now?
    I guess if you are such a poor alderman for nine years running, don’t have anything to stand on, and are benefitting from the Hired truck scandal (Suntimes reported on it over 100 times) and on and on…then Waguspack is right. We’ll never really know how many hundreds of millions were lost, but the FEDS don’t bust corrupt Chicago guys for nothing. According to the Feds, convicted felon Donald Tomczak and Ted matlak worked together and Ted benefitted. the Feds proved it, not Waguespack.

  21. - Rich Miller - Sunday, Apr 8, 07 @ 4:50 pm:

    Northside, if Jones doesn’t mail that info, it’s of no use.

  22. - West Rogers Park Resident - Monday, Apr 9, 07 @ 1:08 pm:

    50th Ward checking in here…

    I’ve had enough. To the political whores and hacks who have contributed to Ald. Stone’s campaign via the First C.D. Victory PAC and other financial vehicles/companies – will you hang around and contribute to clean up and improve our community should Stone win? I doubt it. To the aldermen and their support groups who gave money and manpower to Stone-will you have some police cars re-deployed from your ward to ours when it slides even further in decline with the gangs and other crimes? I think not…

    Mayor Daley has made it abundantly clear that keeping Alderman Stone and his foul-mouthed, rude chief of staff (daughter Illana) (with whatever political capital that means to him) in office overrides any needs or desires of the residents of the 50th Ward. Regardless of the state of decline that the ward is in, courtesy of Alderman Stone’s lack of leadership, planning, and advocating for us, Mayor Daley wants him re-elected. I’ve been approached on the street twice now by people from other wards sent by other aldermen to help Stone. When I asked them about Stone’s plans for the ward and why he is the better candidate I got, “He’s for safety….umm, better schools, things like that…can you tell me where Touhy is?” Articulate they are not. And Stone’s recent mail piece about safety and cameras is garbage when he could have used the funds from the aldermanic menu to purchase them (available beginning this year) and chose not to.

    It would appear that Ms. Dolar is up against a mayor who cares only about the make-up of his city council; an alderman and his campaign manager who are not above using intimidation, dirty tricks, vandalism and worse to stay in office; and fellow aldermen who must owe Stone something to send bodies up here to help him. So here’s my idea – if you think Naisy Dolar deserves a fair shot at beating Ald. Stone – call her office at 773-508-6248 or go online to help volunteer during this final week before the election and be sure to pass this on to your friends. Veteran campaigners who think a very well-qualified woman deserves a chance at taking on the Machine in its worst form should come join her team. Nonpartisan groups like the League of Women Voters and others should send in plenty of poll watchers on Election Day to ensure that voters are allowed to vote for the candidate of their choice without any intervention, intimidation, or “help” from unscrupulous people, be they election judges, poll watchers, and other Machine-related personnel.

    As a resident of the 50th ward, while well aware that Chicago elections are less than pristine examples of democracy in action, I am disgusted by both the number of outsiders and the Mayor and other aldermen who seek to unfairly alter the outcome of this race with their money, clout, and manpower in spite of the well-documented need for change, revitalization, and new leadership in the ward. Please help Ms. Dolar and level the playing field – if not completely – at least more so than it is now.

  23. - daChicagoWay - Thursday, Apr 12, 07 @ 7:58 pm:

    50th Ward action was not addressed in this post, but can someone confirm that as of yesterday (Wed., April 11th) Daley had pulled Mike Noonan (as well as the Machine’s election army) from Bernie Stone’s campaign?

  24. - Buck Towner - Friday, Apr 13, 07 @ 12:02 am:


    You are typical of the liars supporting Ted. The then Republican Committeeman of the 32nd Ward admitted that Matlak funding a gay-bashing mailer sent out against Lorna Brett. Be brave enough to post your e-mail address and I’ll be happy to send you the article.

    Buh-bye Ted. You’re history.

  25. - Evripides - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 10:31 pm:


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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